In recent years, Halloween has become an event for people of all ages, not just children who go out trick-or-treating. More and more adults are dressing up and heading out to bars, parties and other Halloween-themed events. An increasing number of people are also buying costumes for their dogs and cats.
Amidst the excitement of costumes and candy, the legal team here at the Phillips Law Group urges parents and partygoers to take some practical steps to stay safe and avoid dangerous or potentially life-threatening situations.
If you or a loved one suffers an injury this Halloween and you believe it was caused by another person's negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to pursue compensation. Contact our Phoenix personal injury attorneys for a free, no obligation legal consultation to learn more.
Safety Tips for Children
Halloween is one of the most exciting nights of the year for children. They get to show off their costumes to their friends and collect free candy from their neighbors.
It is important not to forget about safety on Halloween – recent research shows 43 percent more pedestrians are killed on Halloween than on any other day during the fall (JAMA Pediatrics).
However, there are several safety tips you and your child should follow when it comes to costumes and trick-or-treating:
- Children under 12 years of age should not go alone – This is a good rule of thumb when deciding whether your child should be accompanied by you or another adult. If your child is 12 years old or older and you feel comfortable letting him or her trick-or-treat without an adult, make sure your son or daughter goes with a group of friends and tell him or her to avoid poorly-lit areas. You should also set a curfew for your teen.
- Plan your route in advance – Whether you are going with your child or not, plan the route he or she should take and stick to it. This helps prevent you and your child from becoming lost or getting worn out. When planning your trick-or-treat route, ensure the route includes as many trustworthy households as possible.
- Make sure your kids can be seen in the dark – You should try to avoid costumes that are too dark because they make it harder for drivers to see your child. If need be, apply some reflective tape to the costume or have your child wear a brightly-colored vest or other article of clothing.
- Insist your children stay on sidewalks at all times - If no sidewalks are available, advise your children to walk along the left side of the road facing traffic.
- Make sure costumes fit properly - Your child’s costume should always fit properly. Costumes that are too big or too long can cause your child to trip and fall, and ill-fitting costumes that are too small can restrict a child’s movements.
- Try to avoid costumes with masks – They might look cool to children, but masks often obscure their view of their surroundings, increasing the likelihood of them wandering into the street or tripping on something and hurting themselves. Whenever possible, use face paint instead of a mask.
- Costumes should be flame-retardant – This should be stated on the label of the costume.
- Make sure all props are safe – If your child's costume includes a sword or some other imitation weapon or prop, make sure it is rubber or plastic and does not have any sharp edges. This way you can lower the risk of your child suffering an injury.
- Be careful crossing the street – You can lower your chance of a car accident by only crossing the street at corners or places with traffic signals and crosswalks. Always look left and right and then left again when crossing the street to make sure no cars are coming. You should also make sure you or your children are not looking at a smartphone while crossing the street.
- Tell your children never to go into anyone’s house – They should always stay outside.
- Check your child's candy – Once trick-or-treating is done, collect your child's candy and throw away anything that has been opened or tampered with. Never let your children eat any Halloween candy until the treats have been inspected. Throw away anything that has been opened or tampered with. If you find candy that contains a foreign object or appears suspicious in any way, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.
Safety Tips for Adults
If you plan to go out on Halloween, there are several safety tips you should follow to avoid accidents and injuries:
- Use extra caution in neighborhoods and residential areas – Drive slowly and keep your eyes on the road because there will be a lot of people out on sidewalks and possibly even in the street. You should also proceed slowly when backing out of driveways or parking spots. Check for children and watch behind you until you have finished backing up.
- Do not engage in distracted driving – Put the phone down and pay attention to the road. Looking down at your phone or the radio while driving is even riskier on Halloween because of the high amount of pedestrian traffic.
- Do not drive home drunk – There is nothing wrong with going out to a party on Halloween. However, do not drive home after drinking. It is illegal and could result in a dangerous accident. Designate a sober driver at the beginning of the night to avoid drunk driving. You can also call a rideshare service or taxi at the end of the night.
- Ensure Halloween decorations are safe – If you have decorated your house, make sure the decorations are safe. Keep electrical cords away from standing water and places where people are walking. Move fog machines away from steps to avoid causing a slip and fall accident. You also need to keep yard decorations away from the sidewalk to avoid kids becoming tangled in them.
Keeping Your Pets Safe
Halloween can also be a dangerous time for pets, which is why owners should take certain precautions:
- Do not let your pet eat candy – This is particularly important with dogs, as ingesting chocolate can be life-threatening.
- Keep your pet away from the door – If your pet tends to not be nice to strangers, keep him or her away from the door when you are passing out candy to trick-or-treaters. You do not want your dog biting a child, which can cause severe injuries.
- Keep jack-o-lanterns away from pets – You should also keep candles out of reach of pets, as they could burn themselves.
- Ensure your pet is microchipped – This way you can track your pet down if he or she escapes when the door is open.
Call a Trusted Attorney After a Personal Injury
Unfortunately, Halloween is often interrupted by personal injuries from car accidents, slip and falls and various other situations.
Many of these injuries are caused by the negligence of another party, such as a driver or property owner, and could have been prevented.
Victims could be eligible to pursue compensation for the damages they have suffered through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim.
Contact our firm for a free consultation by calling 1-800-706-3000.